Since February 27, thousands of students have been protesting at Staff Selection Commission (SSC) Head Quarters in Delhi and at regional centres in different parts of the country against paper leak and massive corruptions in SSC examinations. The SSC conducts a number of examinations to recruit for multiple central ministries for different non-gazette posts like lower division clerks, income tax inspectors, sub inspectors of CBI, etc. This year SSC Combined Graduate Level Examination (CGL – Tier II) were held from February 17 to February 22. 1, 89,843 candidates appeared for nearly 9,372 vacancies were to be filled under this examination.
On February 17, there were reports of one aspirant held with answer script before the examination in Delhi. In Delhi, the SSC cancelled the second shift of the exam on the same day at one exam centre called Animate Infotech. On February 21, answer keys of the ongoing paper emerged in public in social media. The whistle-blower Facebook platform SSCtube also published it while the exam was going on as a proof of paper leak.
The exam had started at 12.30 pm and at 12.32 pm the paper was leaked online through remote access. Following two pictures present some examples of that. Subsequently, the SSC cancelled the exam held in the morning shift on February 21. On February 24, the SSC declared to reconduct the 21st February exam on 9th March.
But the SSC didn’t accept the paper leak and scam allegation; instead it said that the entire problem was caused due to “some technical reasons”.
Surprisingly, just one week after this, according to the March 4 notification, the same SSC promised the protesters that it will ‘request’ the Government to conduct a CBI enquiry into the conduct of CGL (Tier-II) Examination.
If the problem with SSC examination is only because of some “technical reasons”, why the commission itself said it would request for a CBI enquiry? The answer is very clear: the Commission itself can’t deny the clear evidences of massive corruption in the exams. But it continues to offer fake assurances so that the protest demanding enquiry defuses.
Further, on March 5, Home Minster Rajnath Singh said that the Government has ordered a CBI probe on the SSC scam. Firstly, why did the Home Minster provide the assurance of CBI enquiry, if the issue is only technical problem as claimed by the SSC earlier? More shockingly, almost two weeks after this assurance, there is no official order or action by the ministry on CBI enquiry on the SSC scam. Why is the Government trying to diffuse the movement by floating false promises time and again? Is it not in the interest of the nation that those involved in corruption get punished?
We would like to also reiterate that this is not a matter of SSC – CGL Tier II examination alone. On March 4, in SSC CHSL (10+2) examination, one aspirant was caught with more than ten admit cards. How can the same individual have multiple admit cards with the same photo and name? From the leak of answer keys to numerous admit cards of one candidate – all of these clearly show the massive corruption in the entire selection process. Following are the photos of the multiple admit cards.
The protestors are being repeatedly threatened and intimidated by the police personnel who have been deployed at the SSC office. The public toilets and the nearest metro facilities were shut down in an effort to dissipate the protest. Through several channels, protestors are being threatened by the authorities that their name and photos are being documented and that if they continue, they will be barred from getting any job opportunities.
Most atrociously, the commission chairperson brought out a notice on 6th March, openly threatening protestors of victimization. The notice says about the CBI enquiry, which has not been constituted till now, “The comprehensive nature of the enquiry would also expose the conduct of external agencies which have been actively instigating and nurturing this agitation to the detriment of thousands of bona fide candidates”.
It is clear that the vested interests are operating within the SSC authority and the private vendor Sify who are conducting the exams. The SSC directly comes under the central government and the onus lies on them to come out clean on this. That is why the protesters are demanding that the Central Government must immediately set up an independent CBI enquiry on the entire process of SSC recruitment examinations. Until those responsible in the paper leak and corruption are punished, and the nexus between SSC officials and Sify is exposed, a fair evaluation in any future recruitment exam cannot be guaranteed. Thus, merely conducting re-examinations will not address the issue at hand.
The future of lakhs of aspirants is at stake. Today, March 16, the protestors have gathered at SSC, for a mass hunger strike and they have urged everyone to join their call. The issue needs urgent attention of the civil society as well as the media. We also urge all Members of Parliament to raise the demand of an Independent CBI Enquiry on SSC Scam in the Parliament.
Sucheta De is from Rozgar Mange India campaign
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